ILLUSIONS AND POWER IN NORTHERN NIGERIA
By Basil Okoh
The Hausa/Fulani are the only people on earth who claim to own a place without owning property or the land. The Fulani elite claim to own Nigeria, that Nigeria is a gift from God to Fulani, to own and to rule over. But Fulani have no ancestral land anywhere in Nigeria and hardly any property.
In their never ending pursuit of dominance and group entitlement, the Hausa/Fulani, against all evidence and all proof, indoctrinate their largely illiterate folk that Nigeria is their God-ordained inheritance and they must strongly make their claim.
“South should forget 2023 presidency, says Junaid Mohammed”
“His words: “I don’t want to hear about this equity and justice, that is sheer nonsense. The people, who abused this equity and justice, are the people from the southeast because whatever we are talking about, in a democracy you cannot circumvent voting figures.”
Dr. Junaid Mohammed, a Soviet trained doctor, Ango Abdullahi, former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University and Tanko Yakassai, former Politician are the mouthpiece of a vociferous North who boast that the Fulani own Nigeria and should be entitled to rule it in perpetuity.
“Leader of Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Prof Ango Abdallah, has declared that there was nothing wrong with the Presidency remaining in the North beyond 2023. He noted that critical evaluation of positions of different ethnic groups in the country showed that the North has been short-changed as key positions were not with them.”
Again, against the evidence, the Muslim North claims it owns and controls the armed forces of Nigeria but it’s soldiers have never proven their mettle in wars or in any military operation. In fact it is said that the Fulani cannot mobilize five battalions of its own men in any military campaign. In fact, we do know that the Hausa/Fulani economy cannot support the purchase of a score tanks or provide for a military campaign for three months.
Fulani unceasing claim to own the country and the label they give the Igbo as outsiders is part of their schemes to retain power but as the Igbo themselves seem not to understand, its all a game of grandstanding for ethnic ascendancy in the absence of any other claim to Fulani relevance in Nigeria.
It rankles me to have to read or listen to all these exclusionary tales denying an entire people, the Igbo, inclusion into elite leadership positions in Nigeria. But the laugh is on the Hausa/Fulani, a people with a
“A UNICEF multi-indicator cluster sampling, which covered 2016 and 2017 showed that the rate of infant mortality in Kano is as high as 112 percent while under-five mortality rate is 203 percent. The survey showed that while only 4.6 percent of the children in the state undergo full immunisation coverage, 54 percent of the children are involved in child labour. Also, access to early childhood education and early marriage stands at just 18 and 70 percent (for women) respectively.”
And yet, without shame, they keep flaunting the sheer size of their flotsam population as claim to ethnic entitlement to leadership of Nigeria. To the Junaid Mohammed’s of the Fulani, their diseased and beggarly population is something to flaunt and wear as a badge, for entitlement to the leadership of Nigeria and for negotiating Fulani elite privileges.
The Igbo cannot wear such badge of dishonour because their people are not diseased and poor and so not entitled to elite privileges.
For all their gorging themselves with the power aphrodisiac, one single man, Bill Gates, had to give $1.4 billion of his wealth and sweat to help eradicate the polio disease in Muslim Northern Nigeria, the last place on earth to harbour such scourge.
There’s just no sense of shame among the elite of Northern Nigeria that they do not, even as a group, add value or compete in any relevant sector in the economy of their fatherland without serious leverage from the Federal Government.
The total internally generated revenue of the entire states in Northern Nigeria cannot pay the salaries of Government workers in any one of the nineteen states. And yet they keep boasting of “phawa”. Power for what? What kind of power can a diseased, hungry and illiterate population wield in the intense competition among nations of the 21st century?
The false calculation, based on the premise that since the weapons of war are located in Hausa/Fulani territory, that the north by that fact alone, has a military advantage over and vice-grip on Southern Nigeria, remains what it is, an illusion. A rag tag group of bandits, Boko Haram, has proven the lie to that claim.
If it wasn’t for Southern and Middle Belt Officers and men, Boko Haram would have overrun a Hausa/Fulani army from Maiduguri to Sokoto in six months.It is men who fight wars, not just weapons. Superior knowledge and experience make for so much difference in the battlefield.
The unreported facts of the previous Civil War should have thought the Hausa/Fulani lessons in humility in relating with the Igbo. Their best and most audacious military commander in that war, Murtala Mohammed, is rated among the world’s worst war commanders of the 20th century, disgraced continually at Onitsha and Abagana by Biafra soldiers.
The Igbo may not know that for every Biafra soldier killed in battle, twenty Nigerian soldiers lay dead, particularly at the Onitsha, Nkpor and Abagana sectors. The entire wave of “godogodo” soldiers, big black soldiers from Niger and Chad who enlisted in the Nigerian Army during the Civil War, were all killed and wiped out in the first 9 months of the war. So the claim to military superiority does not exist in the facts that we know.
The war against Boko Haram should provide the evidence of the utter weakness of the present Nigeria armed Forces. After over six years of fighting, Nigerian soldiers are locked in, in fortified barracks, guarded by fellow soldiers in turns, instead of themselves guarding the communities which they were called to protect from the terrorists.
Nigeria’s Air Force after aimless bombing raids that are taking out IDP camps rather than the Boko Haram terrorists, have returned to 1967 default settings where Nigeria had to beg for and hire Egyptian pilots to conduct the bombing raids against Biafra.
Shittu Alao, the Yoruba fighter pilot who could take the fight in a Russian MIG to the Biafrans, was sabotaged by Northern officers with a bomb planted in his plane and crashed at Uzebba, Edo State.
These long stories of the military and war is to show the futility of any claim to military superiority in Nigeria, so that those who insist that they are born to rule and that they own Nigeria, should examine the facts.
See below and determine for yourselves who truly own Nigeria. You do not own a country by spoken words and grandstanding but by quality population, investments and possession:
- 60% of the hotel and entire hospitality industry in Abuja are owned by Igbo.
- 55% of total non-government investments in Abuja and the entire FTC belong to Igbo.
- 45% of non-land investments in Northern Nigeria are owned by Igbo.
- 90% of retail pharmacies in Abuja and FTC are owned by Igbo.
- 40% of privately owned properties in Abuja and FTC are owned by Igbo.
- 75% of trade in Boko Haram territory (onions, tomato’s, smoked fish and other vegetable and farm products) passing through the Cameroun corridor, are conducted by Igbo as end buyers. They move money to the primary buyers from the communities who buy and transport the products to them across the Cameroun border.
- Practically all the rice smuggled across the unguarded Northern borders were brought there from Yaounde and Cotonou ports by Igbo.
- The biggest buyers of farm produce in the entire Northern Nigeria are Igbo who buy from the communities and move them to Southern Nigeria. Without the Igbo, Northern farmers may not sell nearly 70% of their easily perishable farm products.
- The largest non-indigenous speakers of Hausa and fulbe, the language of the Fulani are Igbo.
- The Igbo are the ethnic group that own and control 40% of non-foreign-owned or controlled economy of Nigeria.
As recently told, there are more industries in Ihiala, a small town in Anambra, on the border with Imo State than the total 86 industries in Kano State of 18 million persons, the most populated and largest commercial centre in Northern Nigeria. Ihiala is not included in the indigenously owned industrial centres in Anambra which distinctly include Onitsha, Nnewi, Awka, Aguata axis etc.
In the Lagos/Ogun industrial axis, the Igbo are setting up industries bigger and faster than the indigenous Egun and Yoruba.
This is after wrestling away the Lagos Island trading axis: Idumota, Idumagbo, Jankara, Tinubu, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Martin’s, Apongbon. Balogun is still a toss up between Igbo and Ijebu Yoruba. These places have pools of traders from other ethnicities, but Igbo are the dominant groups.
If you dare to extend, the Igbo dominate, the Computer Village, Ikeja, Trade Fair complex, Alaba market, Alaba Rago, every large motor spare parts market in Lagos, including Lawanson, Clegg Street, all in Surulere, Toyota in Isolo, Trinity in Ajegunle (which faces the Tin Can port directly and which is the first and largest recipient of smuggled or stolen spare parts from the port). The only spare part market not dominated by Igbo is the …. Market after Ketu/ Mile 12.
“Kano alone accounts for one million out-of-school children in Nigeria, according to the UNICEF representative in the state. Apart from low literacy level among children, the state is also known for high infant mortality rate, child marriages as well as inadequate healthcare for children.” (UNICEF)
The Fulani are consumed in the false and unfounded claim to superiority. Northern Nigeria, particularly the Muslim dominated part, remains the poorest place on planet earth and its flotsam population the sorriest uneducated and backward.
The people are enveloped in a cultural and civilizational miasma that offers them no route and perhaps no hope to easy redemption.
Fulani can continue to delude themselves that they own Nigeria and should therefore determine who gets what in Nigeria but it’s obvious that without the Igbo, their farmers cannot sell much of their farm produce in exchange for the products of the modern world which are brought to them as well by Igbo traders living and thriving in their communities.
The Hausa/ Fulani continue to push their people to take all openings in the Federal bureaucracy, believing that they are doing their region a world of good by stamping their dominance on Federal Government bureaucracy. In Nigeria, control of the bureaucracy means the control of the wealth of Government.
Control of the wealth of Government also translates to self enrichment and the location of Government projects in the North. But take a look at all the white elephant projects litering the Nigeria space and tell which one is serving the purpose for which it was built.
So if the Igbo resolve eventually to remain part of Nigeria beyond 2023 and inspite of the arrogance of the Fulani, it will be because as intelligence has revealed of secret meetings among them, that they have resolved to make Nigeria a captive market for their businesses.
They are determined now to build up as much capital as they can and then make a dive for the exits with the strength to take on any bully at the door.
The second resolution, we hear, is to diffuse their holdings by denominating their wealth in foreign currencies and increasing investments in freer economies while reducing investments in hostile areas in Nigeria.
Now tell me, between the Hausa-Fulani who refuse to work or invest for their upkeep and the Igbo who own Nigeria? Who has the greater capacity for survival in the event of a broken polity?
The real problem of the north is the death of activism, the death of ideas, the surrender to idle conservatism and religious bigotry that has no economic or progressive use in the twenty-first century.
This has exacerbated sociopolitical dissonance and placed the North on economic dependence on Southern Nigeria. Without an alternative and competing ideology, the North has surrendered to the persuasions of islamism and idle romanticism.
Judicial activism is also dead, Chief Justice Mohammed, it appears, has been appointed to promote idolatry of the worst kind, the worship of a living fallible human, in this instance, Muhammadu Buhari.
The tying of the justice system in a secular Nigeria to the political goals of an irredentist, conservative North and to the idea of a greater Islamic Fulani Empire and worldview, portends to bury the Nigeria idea in the graveyard
Political activism in the North is also dead. Kano used to be the hotbed of political activism in the entire Nigeria. This writer remembers Abubakar Rimi at the Kano Township stadium in 1983, holding the rapt attention of a crowd of 50,000 spectators for two and a half hours as he spoke in Hausa, Fufulde and English, all flawless. Where are the men like him to bring alternative worldviews to the North now? Where are the faithfuls of Aminu Kano? Sociopolitical balance in the North has been upended. Ah, the land of my youth.
Kano has now become the bastion of social and political conservatism. That Kano can choose to elect a Muhammadu BUHARI means much more than a moral death for progressivism in Northern Nigeria. Any sociopolitical system that can throw up a Muhammadu BUHARI and the worldview he represents must suffer from atrophy and the eventual death of its redeeming values.
The northern elite has acquired tastes, cultures and expectations far above the capacity of their region to provide. Elite of the North have acquired and acculturated a dependence on other regions to provide for them the creature comforts to live the exhibitionist life that is alien to their home culture and the beliefs that they espouse.
The north has stopped working and like the old Roman plebeians, stand in wait of the pillage and grains of Egypt that Caesars Army will bring. The entire region is living far above it’s means and is mindlessly ignoring it’s economic regenerative roots such that any shock to its system will have the entire socioeconomic edifice come crashing down.
The north is in dissonance not just because of the lack of social infrastructure. These can always be provided. The north is dying because it is losing it’s greatest gift, empathy for it’s struggling humanity. The North dies for lack of the constant renewal of spirit necessary for group redemption.
The north is dying from the falsity of its claims to power and the social regression and the complacency and disembowelment that these false claims engender.The backwardness of its people and the regressing indices of development in the region proves the lie to any fatuous claims to power. @basilokoh.